As promised, Facebook has made changes to the personal profile once again. Your personal profile account is now a “Timeline.” The Timeline was announced back in August. As the new Timeline rolls out, users will be prompted to change over to the Timeline. One nice feature about this change is that users will be given a 7 day review period to work over their Timeline and edit it to remove or change the privacy settings for any older items that they don’t want to show in the Timeline. Users can publish their new Timeline at any time but after 7 days it will automatically become public. (After December 21st, all users will have the new Timeline.)
One of my favorite features of the new Timeline is the cover photo. The cover photo is displayed at the top of the profile and extends for the entire page width. From what I’ve found, the ideal size for this space is 850×315 pixels but no smaller than 720 pixels. Since this a large photo area, a high-res photo is optimal to avoid pixelation. Your “profile pic” is now a 125×125 image embedded in the lower left corner of your cover image.
In Facebook’s help section, it details the difference between the profile pic and the cover picture:
A cover is the larger photo at the top of your timeline, right above your profile picture. Note: Like your profile picture, cover images are public, which means anyone visiting your timeline will be able to see them.
We’ve found that people have a better experience viewing your timeline when they see a cover that is as unique and individualized as you are. This helps people learn more about you. It also helps us prevent spam, fake profiles, and other content that can detract from your experience on Facebook. An easy way to ensure your cover image is unique is to choose an image from your life, like a photo from a wedding, day at the beach, or birthday party. If you want to use a photo to show solidarity or express support for a cause or organization, you can still post a status or a photo and feature it on your timeline.
As mentioned, cover pictures, like your profile picture, are public which means anyone who comes to your profile can see this image. There is some question about whether Facebook is making efforts to control this space to keep it free from promotional and business images. The above quote seems to be Facebook’s effort to encourage people to keep it personal. Facebook profiles have always been meant to be more personal than for business and some users are reporting a message from Facebook when they first load their cover image that discourages promotional or commercial images in that space. The cover picture is a great way to make your profile stand out and really make an impression, so put some thought into the image you will be using and feel free to change it up once in awhile.
With the new Timeline, no new information is being shared and none of the privacy settings for any of your old posts have been changed. You may however, want to go back any new posts that are surfacing in the timeline and change their visibility to “Only Me” if it’s a post that you no longer want viewed. Using the “Activity Log” page is the best and easiest way to go through your posts and do this.
Another feature of the new Timeline is that you can go back and add “Life Events” all the way back to your birth. Of course, Facebook encourages you to add these events but certainly it is up to you how much more of your life you’ll be willing to share with Facebook.
For additional information about the new Facebook Timeline, see the resources below: